Honorable Mention - Best Trasgender
"Robert(a)"
By Alicia Moore - SC
2008 KarMel Scholarship Submission
KarMel Scholarship 2008
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Description of Submission: "Account of a young transgedred woman's first venture out in true form." - Alicia

Why Karen and Melody Liked It:   We loved how the story showed the courage it takes to be who we are, and how quickly we can lose that courage with just one careless word.
    She bought a new dress, on a whim.  We're going out and she wants to look her best; it's going to be a special night for her.  I've been rifling through my makeup case while she puts it on; she emerges into the hall with her arms folded, staring at her fee.  I see her and I am genuinely impressed.  "Head up," I tell her, "you're a beautiful girl."  She looks up and smiles, and we both know then this will be the best night we've had in awhile.

     It's been a hard year for us, and we both need this.  I work hard everyday to keep us under a roof with light, heat, food, a bed to sleep in.  She cooks, cleans, keeps our humble little place feeling like a home.  We are underprivileged, yet still satisfied; unpretentious, yet still self-assured.  But I've just gotten a long overdue bonus, and tonight is for dancing.

     It sounds like a Proletariat love-story, and we have often appeared the part of the poor young married couple one would imagine in it.  But we are not those people, and this is not that story.  Our bed is shared only for the lack of a second one, and at home we are better compared to Marcus and Rodolfo than to Henry and June.

     I help her finish getting ready.  She is fretful, nervous, and finds it hard to keep still while I am applying her makeup .  We have only one pair of pantyhose in the house, and when they don't quite fit right, she nearly cries; but after ten minutes with thread, needle, and scissors, I have them perfectly squared off and attached to garters.  She praises my improvisiational skills as I hand her her coat; she thanks me for everything I've done as we're heading out the door.

     The only things that I have no required no lateral thinking are the shoes she is wearing.  The shoes are perfect.

    She is radiant in the bright, colorful sundress, pointedly chosen to stand out at the evening club we're headed for.  As we cross the street twoard our desitnation, two men our age pass and look back at her as they do.  One of them lets out a low whislte, and then she is beaming when I look over at her, ecstatic to be recognized at last for the lovely woman that she is.

    Heads turn as we enter the club, and she is smiling again, and then I smile too, because I am thrilled for her.  We drink and laugh and have a wonderful time, until I feel my anger flare up and have to restrain myself from lashing out in the violence when I see her deflate, because the man sitting next to us at the bar mutters under his breath (though not quietly enough):

   "What's up with
that guy?"